Smedley Darlington Butler, *1881,†21 June 1940
Major General - United States Marines
Recipient of 2 Congressional Medals of Honor
Republican candidate for US Senate 1932
Recently, a few marines were honored, by commemorative postage stamps. A truly, fine marine was not in that corps. He was a much, decorated warrior, but, all the fruit salad of medals and badges, did not include a recognition of his greatest service to his and our country. This great hero saved american democracy, not on the battlefield, from Wall Street. He stopped a moneyed, fascist cabal from removing the greatest, and most significant president, of the twentieth century, from office — Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The man so reviled as a “traitor to his class” and whose name was never allowed to be spoken, in the houses of fascists and other rabid Republicans and plutocrats. He was referred, bitterly and angrily, as “that man”.
He had spent a full generation (33 years) as a marine. But, he had insulted Mussolini and a courts-martial was possible, and the Quaker Hoover was not a friend. Butler was well known to military men, and highly respected amongst them. He was given the nicknames, “The Fighting Quaker” and “Old Gimlet Eye”.
After the (first) Hundred Days of Roosevelt’s term, the mighty, moneyed interests were alarmed. Smedley was approached by the representatives of concentrated wealth, the 60 families*, to remove Roosevelt and act as their figurehead. But, Butler was a patriot. He did what they didn’t expect. He told the press through and with Paul Comly French of the Philadelphia Record, the Congress and the american people. Since the owners of the press were, also, of corporate interest, and many political officers were their beneficiaries or employees, much was covered up; but, the story did get out, to a degree. The coup was stopped, even though, the cover up was largely successful, there is still an existing historical record. Members of the Morgan Bank, du Pont, McCormack (Chicago Tribune, International Harvester), Standard Oil, Remington Arms, Goodyear, Mellon … families and businesses, and … one … Prescott Bush. The muscle was to come from the American Legion, which, often acted as strike breaking goons.
In the 1920s government was run by, and for commercial, interests. American business leaders liked the new regimes in Italy† and Germany, and were taking notes. The Republicans won landslide victories in ’20, ’24 and ’28. Harding, Coolidge and Hoover served well their particular constituencies. The discrepancy between the rich and poor was very great. Now, to-day with Reagan, Bush and junior, especially, it has returned near that level. In 1929 Wall Street crashed and drove the country into the Great Depression. And to the moneyed horror, the people voted in a real democrat, Franklin Roosevelt. And ever since, the Republican party has tried to remove every aspect and detail of the New Deal. They want the regime of the 1920s. They have forgotten nothing, and have not changed.
After that event he spoke and wrote repeatedly the same lines, that war is a racket, one version written in 1935 includes:
I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups.Butler was a very honorable man. He had been a Quaker, a scion of quaker families, though, he was no pacifist. He did see, that, the United States did not limit itself to defensive wars, in fact, he could not find an instance of one in the history of the country. No matter, it would still be quite difficult to name a child, Smedley.
I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras “right” for American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927, I helped see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.
*Ferdinand Lundberg, America’s 60 Families.
†“Fascism should be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power.” — Benito Mussolini.
SEE: Investigation of Nazi Propaganda Activities and Investigation of Certain Other Propaganda Activities: Public Hearings Before the Special Committee on Un-American Activities, House of Representatives, Seventy-third Congress, Second Session, at Washington, DC, December 29, 1934. Hearings No. 73-D.C.-6, Part 1.
Last year, a program on The Business Plot was broadcast on BBC radio. The british press is far, more informative on american politics, than the american press!